I Am On the Dole and Can't Get Off

Monday, November 14, 2005

I was wondering what was for dinner shall it be peanut butter on my left finger or maybe tonight I will make it interesting and put it on my right.

That’s right I am on the dole. Its not much mind you-$684.00 a month. My rent is $525.00. Oh and my prescriptions are well over $400. Do the math. Would anyone choose this? Well, fact is I did and I didn’t. I did work for many years on and off and came to realize I was not exactly successful at holding a job. The general consensus is I have a mental illness that makes me a bit unstable-not stupid-just unstable. Unstable in the sense there are some mornings or weeks that I am so anxiety filled (manic) or non moveable (depressed) there is not a chance in hell I could go anywhere much less perform on a job. I suffered years of chaos, unemployment and poverty. I was continually encouraged to file for Social Security Disability. I resisted thinking ultimately I would pull through and I certainly did not view myself as “disabled” (and still don’t). I have met people that I call “generationally' disabled. They expect to receive disability because their parents did and on and on. It was like an important rite of passage much like a bar mitzvah or a holy communion the day they received their “Award Letter” from the Social Security Administration. I am surprised there are not themed items at Hallmark for the family celebration. In my family “being on the dole” is a disparaging remark. While they look down on this segment of society-they simultaneously offered me little alternative to meeting my basic needs. I am helped sporadically and grudgingly. Which I feel obligated to add I am grateful for. I am viewed as a problem. So, I went ahead and took the plunge and applied.. To my surprise I received it in record time and on the first try. Historically claims are rejected at least once. My first reaction was great and then I thought wow I am sicker than I thought. Then I became sad. It was official I have been labeled “disabled”. For all practical purposes I am no longer expected to contribute to society. Could this be? And how the hell was I going to live on 684 dollars for the rest of my life. I have been sentenced to a life of poverty. I am healthy. I am reasonably intelligent. What now?

7 Comments:

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Ed, at 2:45 PM  

  • God, and my first comment is spam somebody trying to sell something to someone with no money....or was he being ironic?

    By Blogger Client Number 80922356, at 3:51 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger remmaps, at 9:24 PM  

  • Firstly, allow me to state the obvious: rather odd blog.

    With that taken care of perhaps you will find it interesting (though most likely not) to know that I stumbled upon this completely by accident, which may aid you in constructing an appropriate response if you choose to do so.

    For some unidentifiable reason I was enveloped in a n incredibly profound state of ponderance after reading this (and I say this in a narrative style to enhance the potential visual) while sitting on the floor, cross-legged, in a decidedly spartan apartment, with my monitor resting precariously upon an overturned chest of drawers.

    The aforementioned mental state did little in the way of actual production of answers matching any of the questions it brought to mind, however I was able to amalgamate and hone them down into one starting question. Which, unastonshingly is cored by a singular word, why?

    Why, pray tell did you create this blog?

    By Anonymous Rai, at 10:51 AM  

  • I can really relate. I'm from Australia and have been in and out of jobs that I couldn't hold because of the unpredictabiliy of Bipolar. Now after three years I am trying to get Disability Support Pension as a last resort. So your blog helped me realise I'm not the only one. Although I haven't read the rest of your posts, just the first one, so I can imagine life can't be all that great with all meds and rent and food on such a low budget. I'm scared for you as well as myself. Keep up the spirits though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:30 PM  

  • Dear Rai,

    Because I can. :)

    And to the kind words of anonymous-thank you. I am well and hope this finds you the same.

    By Blogger Client Number 80922356, at 2:50 PM  

  • You sound like a brilliant person and you have a great sense of humor. Your blog was easy to read. You are a good writer. You identify yourself as Bipolar and one study showed that 40% of all writers are Bipolar though only 1% of the population is. You have made the blog. Now I wish you would send it to a bunch of sites. Start with every congressperson. It is possible to blog them all. They need to see the human being behind the numbers. It is a travesty that a person of your calibre needs food stamps or that anyone needs food stamps. I think the tide is starting to turn. Also as far as food stamps, blog the director of the DSS and the board for good measure. Good luck to you!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:29 PM  

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